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The inflammatory response to influenza A virus (IAV) participates in infection control but contributes to disease severity. After viral detection, intracellular pathways are activated, initiating cytokine production, but these pathways are incompletely understood. We show that interferon regulatory factor 5 (IRF5) mediates IAV-induced inflammation and, in mice, drives pathology. This was independent of antiviral type 1 IFN and virus replication, implying that IRF5 could be specifically targeted to treat influenza virus-induced inflammation. We show for the first time that human iPSC technology can be exploited in genetic studies of virus-induced immune responses. Using this technology, we deleted IRF5 in human myeloid cells. These IRF5-deficient cells exhibited impaired influenza virus-induced cytokine production and revealed that IRF5 acts downstream of Toll-like receptor 7 and possibly retinoic acid-inducible gene I. Our data demonstrate the importance of IRF5 in influenza virus-induced inflammation, suggesting that genetic variation in the IRF5 gene may influence host susceptibility to viral diseases.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of Virology


American Society for Microbiology

Publication Date